They Married (Too) Young

marriage by kumon.

Shannon is a 16 year old from Maryland. She enjoys writing, is pro recycling, and loves the Jonas Brothers.

Marriage.

It seems to be getting closer and closer lately. Whenever we do thinking exercises in English or Ethics, the question “Where do you think you’ll be five years from now?” usually comes up, and someone always answers with “I see myself happily married.” When you think about it, five years really isn’t a long time. Five years from now I’ll be twenty one. For some people twenty one means legal bar hopping, but apparently for others, it means being forever committed to another person.

Especially with celebs like Bristol Palin getting married to their teenage boyfriends, the popularity of marriage has spiked dramatically.

So what do we think? Well, all I can give you is the perspective of yours truly: (Forgive me if my opinion seems somewhat cynical.)

Honestly, I’m not sure what to think about people marrying so young. I think commitment is something that is taken dangerously lightly in this day and age. People of all ages go into marriage with a ring on one hand and a backup escape plan in the other. That’s why the divorce rate is so ridiculously high.

It seems to me that many of the young couples that get married are naive. They think that marriage is like the relationships that we see on television and in movies–completely ‘lovie-dovie’; all sunshine and ice cream kisses; laying in the street, fingers laced, toying with death as you watch the traffic lights flick from red to yellow to green. They forget to mention that being married means being legally bound to another person. Having to deal with them and their issues on a daily basis, regardless of how your day went. Having to work with them to keep the relationship fun and interesting.

People are constantly growing and changing, especially when they’re young and are still trying to figure out who they are as human beings. The likelihood that two people can go through this type of self-discovery while successfully co-existing with a mate just seems very slim.

To me, marrying young seems to be the equivalent of throwing your childhood away. I just can’t understand why someone would willingly put their dreams on hold to work on a relationship that has a fifty percent chance of failing. Young couples often have to give up on certain things, certain experiences, certain opportunities that are likely to only come around once.

And why? Because they’re in love? What do teens know of love, really? Can we really distinguish the difference between love and lust at this age? Can we truely fall in love? Do soul mates exist?

Can teens know the answers to these questions?

My answer: I don’t know.


Youth is something that can’t be repeated. As each day passes we grow a little older and lose a little bit more of the innocence that we once possess as children. Marriage only speeds up that

process, so why rush it?

7 Responses to “They Married (Too) Young”

  1. Amberlynn
    October 1, 2008 at 9:06 am #

    I grew up in a place where most people DID get married vary young. And my opinion was just like yours. Also, the were religious… so to be totally blunt, I felt like they were just getting married so they could “legally” have sex. I always made fun of folks who got married so quickly!

    When I would go visit during my college years, they would talk to me as if I had low self esteem because I wasn’t married yet. I didn’t feel that way at all, but it was simply part of their culture.

    However, now that I’m almost 30, and I’m married, I have a slightly different perspective on things. I’d like to share a few with you, just so that perhaps you’ll pause and reflect a bit before judging others’ commitments. I’m not trying to tear you down at all. Again, I used to believe just as you do. This is simply another side of the picture.

    I have seen TONS of weddings, and not one single couple I’ve ever known has gone into it with “an escape plan” in mind. They all truly believe they want to and will be with that person forever. Unfortunately, divorce does happen, but truly nobody thinks it will happen to them. It doesn’t matter what age you are, part of the naivety and dreaming of marriage is that you blissfully believe you’ll be happy together.

    Getting married does not throw away your childhood. Sure, you may have different responsibilities than those who are single, but life doesn’t STOP at marraige. (Having children DOES slow you down, though.) I know many happily married couples who go out and “play” harder than any others. My high school best friend and her husband are going to live in England for a few years just for fun, they took their high school students on a field trip abroad last year, and have been on several trips to Europe. The host parties all the time. They truly rock! I could name you more, too, but you get the idea.

    I believe that we all, regardless of age, learn love every day. It’s not something you catch or understand once, and then you’ve got it.

    My personally conclusion is that some people grow up, and then get married – while others get married and then grow up. One is not better or wiser than the other. They are simply different.

    For the record, I was 26 when I got married. All my siblings married at younger ages than I did, and the majority of my high school friends already had a few kids by then! Also, after all those years of making fun of folks who got married quickly, I married my husband after knowing him for five MONTHS! I have zero regrets.

  2. Ginny
    October 4, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    I’m 30, been married 11+ years. I got married at 19, husband was 21. We also had our first daughter that year. We are still married, but we struggle quite a bit.

    I do feel like I lost out on some, but that was more of the parenting part then the marriage part. We did seperate for a couple years, but didn’t date others, etc.

    I do have a big part of that regrets marrying so young. My husband didn’t turn out to be responsible like I thought he would when “he grew up”. I think if you wait, even until mid-twenties you will see more of things that will change from crazy high school/college days & things that don’t change.

    Everyone is different though, some things & work & others don’t. You have to go with your gut. One thing I have learned is my gut is always right & whenever I don’t listen to it I regret it.

  3. Sabrina (Momma)
    November 11, 2008 at 10:57 pm #

    I love this topic! I can remember when I was a senior in high school, we had to create our future and write in a past tense to explain what had happened in the ten years since graduation.

    Some things I have accomplished that I said I would and others I did not. I am 28 years old and just attended my 10-year reunion which is what brought back all these memories! I have been happily married (most days) for 6 years but have been together with my husband for 10 years. We married young by today’s standards, I was 21 and he was 23, but we knew what we were getting ourselves in to. We did not enter our marriage thinking everyday would be a honeymoon, we work hard to be happy and in love, and civil even when we don’t want to be. Prior to getting married we completed 1 year of pre-marital counseling and several marriage retreats through my church. We both knew what we expected in our marriage and both knew what we had to do to achieve these goals.
    Today we are happily married (still) and have a precious 18 month old baby boy; I wouldn’t go back and change a thing!

    When I was younger, about your age, I swore that I wouldn’t get married until I was at least 27 and wouldn’t dream of having kids until I was at least 30….let me tell you life changes and goals change too! Today I love where I’m at in life, I’m the stay-at-home mom that I’ve always wanted to be, I go to college full-time in the evenings and I am married to my best friend. Had I known when I was 17 what life had in store for me, I wouldn’t have believed this to be my life….I wanted to be an attorney, now I just want to be a wife and mommy!

  4. meybelin
    February 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Im a 17 year old teenager….. who’s engaged, i hear everybody say ” are you sure? your so young ex……” the thing is what is the “age” when you know your in love, when you know that you found that person that your meant to spend the rest of your life with….. the answer is that there is no answer, its just a gut feeling telling you that everything is going to work out…

  5. Mary
    April 22, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    I am 20 and getting married in 3 months to my 24 year old fiance. My family hates it and it has been hard for us to deal with. One day he said “I can just tell that their constant anger about this is never going to stop” and I broke down. He was right and I was convinced it would be too much for him. “Should we call it off?” I said. The look on his face was my answer. Never, no matter how hard it gets, for what reasons, will we call it off. My point is, people can’t go into marriage thinking things are going to be all peaches and sunshine. I have been so depressed over my family that I am not the same person anymore…although this is hard on my fiance, he has no intention of breaking it off. I know a time will come when he is down and out and I will have to keep my faith in him as well. The future holds a lot of problems. My family would have been manipulative no matter what I was doing, and I am lucky to have someone who truly loves me helping me through the pain. We encourage each other in school and in life. When I am down, he is willing to pick up the slack. We live together and have for 8 months, and he always cooks, cleans, takes out the dog, whatever. Especially if I am busy with school or work or if I am stressed out. Marriage is a partnership. If you find a partner who helps you and loves you even in the worst of times then marriage is an amazing commitment to make, no matter how old you are!

  6. Vanessa Van Petten
    April 24, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    Hi Mary

    Thank you for adding your story!

    Vanessa

  7. Vanessa Van Petten
    May 3, 2009 at 5:31 pm #

    Mary thanks for adding your story!

Leave a Reply